Well...it's with a great deal of sadness that I have to report the closing of Wind Dancer Garden at the end of this month (November 30). A few weeks ago, owner Carolyn Kolb emailed me to let me know they were closing. She and her husband, Larry, had decided to retire...so after 12 years, were closing the nursery.
I was actually out on the Oregon Coast near Astoria at the time with Norm and his mom, and got the email just as we were heading home. As we drove through the mist and rain at twilight along the Columbia river, I had lots of time to think about the news. Of course, I was happy for Carolyn & Larry...after all, running a nursery is A LOT of work...and is a huge commitment of time and energy.
On the other hand, I couldn't help but be saddened by the news. After all, my Autumn excursions out to Wind Dancer had become a bit of an annual event for me (and whoever I could get to go along)! Over the past few years, I've really looked forward to these visits with great anticipation, not just because of all the wonderful plants I wanted to buy...but because I loved talking with Carolyn, and wandering about her wonderful display gardens.
If there's anything that gardening teaches us, however, it's that nothing is constant...change is inevitable. The seasons march on, and no amount of hand-wringing on our part will stop that.
This isn't a mopey post, however, but a celebration of just how great Wind Dancer was (and IS)...and how much I (and I'm sure many other gardeners) have taken away from it. Most of these pictures are actually from an early-summer visit earlier this year...so the garden will look quite different from my other posts!
One of the things I love most about the gardens at Wind Dancer is that many of them are raised, edged with flat rock. This helps to give grasses good drainage...a definite plus in winter-wet Oregon!
I also credit Carolyn (and fellow blogger Heather, of Just a Girl With A Hammer) for waking me up to the beauty of Deschampsia. How could I have looked at such a sight in the past and not marveled at it's subtle beauty?
Love this Carex (probably 'Bowles Golden'), it's always nice to find another lover of chartreuse ;-)
One of the effects that they have achieved at Wind Dancer that I utterly adore is this feeling of enclosure. You walk through these enormous, towering plants...and feel so surrounded, so utterly dwarfed...it's amazing, especially when you realize all this growth occurs in a single season (not counting the Maple, of course)!
Gotta love this shrub (Spirea, I'm guessing).
More seductively curving paths amidst towering, lush grasses. I love the effect of having the area around the curve of the path hidden by taller plants...beckoning us onward.
Sedges, grass relatives, come is such a rainbow of colors.
You know I love me some rusty metal!
The garden here is a great way of appreciating how amazing grasses are in their reaction to environmental conditions...even a slight mist can weigh down their tall tassels.
Dew...or diamond dust?
When the sun re-appears, they fluff back up into a billowy cloud.
Visiting during early summer, as I did here, shows Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' in it's pink tassel phase, after they have contracted from their puffy flower phase. In a few weeks, they'll dry and turn gold.
It's always rare to find someone who you feel is a bit of a "kindred spirit"...and I think those of use who really love grasses all feel that way toward Carolyn & her husband. Her enthusiasm for gardening was evident in her demeanor...and, of course, sincere enthusiasm is always a bit contagious!
I'll always be grateful for getting to know both of them, and, of course, getting to visit their wonderful garden & nursery.
As I was preparing this post, looking at photos, trying to figure out what to say, it struck me just how MANY plants I had in my garden from Wind Dancer! Above, you can see just a few grasses I bought from Carolyn over the past few years.
A) Muhlenbergia rigens, B)Panicum 'Huron Solstice', C) Miscanthus purparascens, D), Molinia 'Cordoba', E) Molinia 'Skyracer', F,H & K) Pennisetum 'Red Head', G & N) Schizachyrium 'Blue Heaven', I) Pennisetum 'Desert Plains', J) Molinia 'Moorhexe', L) Molinia 'Strahlenquelle', M) Pennisetum macrourum
Needless to say, even after closing, both the plants in our gardens and the inspiration provided by Carolyn & Larry will endure for quite some time.
So, for all you grass lovers out there, they are open until November 30, so give them a shout (they are open by appointment only) and go before it's too late...I know I am!